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Grenfell Tower publish phase 1 report – what does it mean?

The highly anticipated report following the conclusion of phase 1 (of 2) of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been published this week which you should have not failed to see in the news despite Brexit!

For those of you in construction industry & it’s supply chain, landlords, property management, involved in the design and refurbishment of premises or in any way connected with buildings for residential use or vulnerable occupants, the worst is yet to come. Phase 1 dealt with the evening of the fire itself and, although not the intention of the inquiry, has also made a comment in respect of the ACM cladding used on the outside of the high rise residential tower. This shows the importance of this aspect of the issues and highlights that recommendations will heavily focus on this following conclusion of phase 2.

Phase 2 of the public inquiry will commence in January 2020, and the recent phase 1 report has confirmed that a number of key issues have come to light that will be considered in the phase 2 stage of the public inquiry that have not been considered in detail to date:

  • The decisions relating to the design of the refurbishment and the choice of materials.
  • The regime for testing and certifying the reaction to fire of materials intended for use in construction.
  • The design and choice of materials.
  • The performance of fire doors in the tower, in particular, whether they complied with relevant regulations, their maintenance and the reasons why some of the self-closing devices do not appear to have worked.
  • The organisation and management of the LFB, in particular in relation to the formulation of policy in the light of experience, the arrangements for training firefighters and control room staff, and the arrangements for sharing information about the particular problems associated with fighting fires in high-rise buildings.
  • The warnings of potential fire hazards given by the local community.
  • The authorities’ response to the disaster.

Contrary to some of the media reports that have been published to date, the sole blame for the Grenfell Tower fire has not been placed on the London Fire Brigade and the public inquiry has not yet concluded.

The phase 1 report does criticise the London Fire Brigade but there are any more elements to the Grenfell Tower tragedy which will be addressed as the public inquiry continues.

We will be keeping a watching brief on the developments of the inquiry and will provide regular updates as it progresses.